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Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch: A game console that transforms into a portable handheld game machine.

Here's our first look at the final hardware, days ahead of its March 3 release -- and some surprising size comparisons with previous Nintendo systems.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Nintendo Switch

With a bright, colorful 6.2-inch touchscreen at 720p resolution, the Switch looks like what the Wii U Gamepad should have been.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET

Nintendo Switch

All the same buttons in all the same places... plus a few extras. (The little plus sign is a start button.)

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Nintendo Switch

Just because it's portable doesn't mean it has a flush, fiddly sliding joystick like the Nintendo 3DS. There's some depth, and the sticks have their own clicky buttons inside when you press down.

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Nintendo Switch

But here's the big surprise: The side controllers can snap right on and off. (It's a satisfying snap, too.)

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Nintendo Switch

That's because the two Joy-Cons, as they're known, are wireless motion controllers with their own internal batteries, advanced haptic feedback and more.

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Nintendo Switch

There's a handy (if limited and lopsided) kickstand to keep the tablet upright, and rigid metal attach points on either side to keep the Joy-Cons relatively rigid once they're snapped into place.

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Nintendo Switch

Here's the button you press to unlock the Joy-Cons and slide them out. There's one such button on each side.

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Nintendo Switch

There are buttons on the inside of each Joy-Con, too, so you can use just one and give the other to a friend.

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Nintendo Switch

Or, you can snap both of them into a Joy-Con Grip for a larger, more traditional-feeling controller.

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Nintendo Switch

One of the Joy-Cons has an IR camera for detecting motion, and another has NFC for connecting Nintendo's Amiibo toys.

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Nintendo Switch

If you angle it right, you can see a copper heatpipe inside that likely keeps the Nvidia Tegra chip cool.

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Nintendo Switch

There are two more USB ports on the left edge. You can connect a USB ethernet adapter, a gadget to charge or presumably some external storage.

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Nintendo Switch

If you want to charge the Switch and attached Joy-Cons without the dock, you can plug the standard (!) USB-C cable directly into the Switch instead.

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Photo by: James Martin/CNET